Dr. Craig Callen, a dentist from Mansfied, Ohio, says he will offer $1 for every pound of Halloween sweets to trick-or-treaters. He has placed a limit of 5 pounds per child. Callen says that those who do so also enter a raffle for children’s bicycles. The kids will also receive free toothbrushes.

Callen and two other colleagues, Mathew Snipes and Anthony Lordo have put up $1,000 towards their offer.

They say this is a cavity-preventing drive – to reduce the amount of candy children consume during the Halloween period. Money, toothbrushes, and a chance to win a bike in exchange for sweets.

Callen said in an interview with the Mansfield News Journal:

“Visiting your dentist twice a year and brushing your teeth are great preventive measures, but doing away with excess sweets would really give your teeth a healthy boost. Kids can have the fun of trick-or-treating, and now their piggy banks will benefit as well.

Plus they get a nice new toothbrush and a goody bag of gifts (limit one per child while supply lasts).”

Callen explained that Americans children are consuming 2% more sugar every year. Sweets have a high sugar content, which can lead to hyperactivity, overweight/obesity, cavities, and damages braces, he added.

Callen and associates emphasize that the sweets must be unopened.

Trick or Treater
A child out trick-or-treating with a bag full of candy

Halloween occurs on October 31st every year. Typically, children go from door-to-door trick or treating, people of all ages attend fancy dress parties, bonfires, apple bobbing, carve jack-o’-lanterns, tell spooky stories, watch frightening movies, and play pranks.

The word Halloween is said to come from a Scottish expression All-Hallow-Even (even=evening, eve), in other words, the eve (night before) All Hallows Day (All Saints Day).

Parents are often torn between letting their children have fun and allowing them to harm their oral health.

In an article in 2010, experts said you should let them gorge themselves and get it out of their system.

Pediatric dentist from Temple University, Mark Helpin, said:

“The frequency of eating candy, and other refined carbohydrates, and their stickiness, are big factors in creating the risk of caries (cavities).”

Carbohydrates can alter the pH balance in the mouth, making it more acidic. Higher oral acid levels leads to a greater risk of cavities. When a child eats a candy, the oral acid environment can take up to 60 minutes to dissipate.

Helpin said:

“If I eat a piece of candy now, the pH in my mouth will become acidic, and it will take 30-60 minutes for it to become normal. If I eat 2 or 3 pieces of candy when I eat that first one, my mouth stays acid the same length of time that it would if I ate just that single piece. It’s still 30-60 minutes. If I keep eating candy throughout the day, there is acid in my mouth for a much longer period of time. The longer teeth are in an acid environment, the greater the risk they will become decayed.”

Written by Christian Nordqvist